Name: Dr. Philip Scepanski
Title: Assistant Professor
Office Location: Lowell Thomas 245
Extension: (845) 575-3000 ext. 2393
Degrees Held:
  • Bachelor of Science in Radio, Television, and Film; Northwestern University
  • Master of Arts in Film and Television; University of California, Los Angeles
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Screen Cultures; Northwestern University


Philip Scepanski studies American television history and cultural theory. His current book project focuses on the ways American television comedy responds to and manages moments of collective trauma. Professor Scepanski has presented widely and published numerous articles and book chapters on topics related to collective trauma and humor. He is also researching Eleanor Roosevelt's presence on National Educational Television in the late 1950s until her death and the impact her show, Prospects of Mankind with Eleanor Roosevelt, had on her relationship with John F. Kennedy.

Selected recent publications:
“Retroactive Edits: 9/11, Television’s Popular Archive, and Shifting Popular Memory.” Television and New Media, Forthcoming.
“Sacred Catastrophe, Profane Laughter: Family Guy’s Comedy in the Ritual of Nationl Trauma.” In The Comedy Reader, edited by Nick Marx and Matt Sienkiewicz. Austin: University of Texas Press, Forthcoming.
“Comedy from the Intersections: Chris Rock on Class and Race.” In Taking a Stand: Contemporary Stand-up Comedians as Public Intellectuals, edited by Peter Kunze and Jared Champion. London: Palgrave MacMillan, Forthcoming.
“Dummies and Demographics: Islamophobia as Market Differentiation in Post-9/11 Television Comedy.” In Taboo Comedy: Television and Controversial Humour, edited by Chiara Bucaria and Luca Barra, 119–38. London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2017.
"9/11, Television Comedy, and the Ideology of 'National Trauma." In Exploring the Edges of Trauma: 150 Years of Art and Literature, edited by Alexandra Stara and Tamás Bényei. Cambridge Scholars Press, 2014.


Research Interests:
  • Television
  • Cultural Studies
  • Critical Theory
  • American Studies
  • Affect
  • Comedy and Humor
  • Trauma
Conferences & Workshops:
  • “Something in a Lighter Vein: Parody and Affective History Across Borders”; National Cultures of Television Comedy Symposium; London, UK; November 17, 2017
  • Comments on Kaitlyn Conners’s “Playing With Affects, Playing with Fire: Victimizing in Jeselnik’s Thoughts & Prayers”; Ethics and Aesthetics of Stand-Up Comedy; Lewisburg, PA; April 8, 2017.
  • “’Our Most Distinguished Guest’: Prospects of Mankind, Eleanor Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy;” The Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference; Chicago, IL; March 22, 2017.
  • Prospects, Party, and Power: Eleanor Roosevelt at National Educational Television;” Film and History Conference; Milwaukee, WI; October 28, 2016.
  • Member of “Theorizing Place and Space on Television” Panel; Flow Conference; Austin, TX; September 16, 2016.
  • “Sacred Catastrophe, Profane Laughter: Family Guy's Comedy in the Ritual of National Trauma;” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference; Atlanta, GA; March 30, 2016.
  • “'Let's Hope Osama bin Laden Doesn't Learn Showtunes': Unintentional Irony and the Internet as Cultural Archive”; International Communication Association Conference; San Juan, Puerto Rico; May 22, 2015
  • “Only through Comedy: African-American Television Comedy and the 1992 Los Angeles Riots/Uprising;” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference; Montreal, Quebec; March 25, 2015
  • Member of “Theory: How Can Media Studies Make the 'T Word' More User-Friendly?” Panel; Flow Conference; Austin, Texas; September 12, 2014
  • "'I Remember 9/11!': Television Comedy as Affective Revision;” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference; Seattle, Washington; March 21, 2014
  • Member of "The Good, the Bad, and the Cult: Television Studies Sensibilities" Panel; Flow Conference; Austin, Texas; November 2, 2012
  • "'Too Soon?': Demographic Logics, Sick Humor, and the Kennedy Assassination in Television Comedy;" Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference; Boston, Massachusetts; March 25, 2012
  • "Post-9/11 Television Comedy and Anxieties Over Transnationalism;" Annual Convention of the German Association for American Studies; Regensberg Germany; June 17, 2011
  • "Reduced to Nothing: Technological Failure, Conspiracy Theory, and TelevisionComedy;" Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference; New Orleans, Louisiana; March 11, 2011
  • "'I Keel You!': The Treatment of Middle-Easterners and Arabs in Post-9/11 TV Comedy;" Battleground States Conference; Bowling Green, Ohio; February 26 2011
  • "Can You Do What You Wanna Do?: African-American TV Comedy From Rodney King to O.J;" American Studies Association Annual Meeting; San Antonio, Texas; November 20, 2010
  • "'Ooo Is That Okay?': Television’s Temporal Censorship as Medium Specificity;” Medium to Medium Conference; Evanston, Illinois; May 22, 2010
  • Where Trauma Meets the Comic: Television Parody After 9/11;” Exploring the Edge of Trauma Conference; West Dean, Chichester, UK; May 14, 2010
  • "'Shows That Cut Away...for Some Bullcrap': Cutaway Comedy in Single-Camera and Animated Sitcoms;” Medium to Medium Conference; Evanston, Illinois; May 1, 2009
  • Member of "Editing to Make a Point" panel; Flow Conference; Austin, Texas; October 8, 2008


  • Society for Cinema and Media Studies (Founder of the Comedy and Humor Studies Scholarly Interest Group)
  • American Studies Association
  • International Communication Association